Of all the attractions in and around Sidmouth, the beach is probably the most famous. Discover two beaches, the award winning Town Beach and the historic Jacob’s Ladder. On a calm, sunny day, there is nothing more relaxing than taking a dip in the sea or playing in the sand, while on a windier day, it is a haven for surfers, paddle boarders and kayakers.
Visible immediately from both east and west approaches into the town, Sidmouth Town Beach and Jacob’s Ladder Beach have been firm favourites with visitors for hundreds of years.
Sidmouth Town Beach
Sidmouth’s main beach is a beautiful expanse of sand and single. It is clean, easily accessible and surrounded by those red cliffs giving it a very otherworldy feel. At low tide it is possible to see the famous red sand and a number of rock pools allowing you to really explore the region’s geological history.
For the sunchasers among you, there are deckchairs available to hire throughout the summer months giving you plenty of chances to relax. If you want something a little more adventurous, make sure to take advantage of the paddle board and kayak hire which can be found at the western end of the esplandade. These concession stands are in use throughout the summer and are a perfect way to explore the Jurassic Coast by water. There isn’t a life guard present, but there is an inshore rescue service on hand and generally speaking, Sidmouth is a safe spot for swimming, bathing and a variety of watersports. Visitors are advised to be aware of their surroundings and to follow the advice of the signs that can be found around the beach, it is dangerous to swim out of the marked areas due to strong currents.
Boating is another popular activity from Sidmouth Town Beach, a slipway towards the eastern end of the promenade provides easy boat access and small boats can often be seen from the shore as they head out for today’s catch.
You can find this at the western end of Sidmouth’s sea front, accessible from the series of wooden steps that lead down to the shore from Connaught Gardens or via the level path from the main beach. While both routes offer spectacular views across the Jurassic Coast, coming to Jacob’s Ladder from Connaught Gardens will give you a panoramic view of the coast which is hard to beat, no matter what time of year you visit, but is particularly breath taking in the summer when the clearer weather gives you a better view of the cliffs and out to sea.
The beach takes its name from the set of tall white steps that were installed to connect the western area of the coast to the gardens which are located directly above it. Though the steps there now are relatively recent, albeit, created in the style of the original Victorian ones, there has been some kind of structure in place since the 19th century when the steps were originally cut into the cliffs before becoming a cart track during the time when the region’s industry was devoted to transporting lime. The original lime kiln has now been refurbished and is today a charming tea room. This part of the beach was particularly popular during the Victorian era where the name Jacob’s Ladder first originated as it was similar to Jacob’s ladder to heaven.
Backed by the iconic steep cliffs, Jacob’s Ladder is a great location for spending a family day out at the sea. The cliffs offer shelter from wind and sun alike and at low tide, the rock pools give you plenty to explore as do the various pebbles that can be found there. Just remember to leave the pebbles behind – they’re actually protected by law!
While there isn’t a life guard at Jacob’s Ladder, swimming is a popular activity as is coastal walking. The beach is on the East Devon Heritage Coast and is adjacent to the South West Coast Path allowing for further exploration of the Jurassic Coast.
There is parking available at various locations in the town giving you easy access to the beach in the form of both on-road and pay and display car parks. Both the main town beach and Jacob’s Ladder have a number of facilities and the town can be easily accessed from both. There are a number of hotels, shops and cafes that line the seafront and there are disabled facilities for easy access to the beach.
Dogs are welcome all year at Sidmouth at a selected section of beach but are banned from the main beach between 1st May and 30th September. Please check local signs for further details.
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